What is onion over VPN? And why might you want to use it when you browse the internet? In this post, we explore how onion over VPN works, plus examine the pros and cons to help you select the best approach possible for your internet experience.
Onion over VPN is also at times referred to as Tor over VPN. It's a method of protecting your internet connection, and essentially involves double-securing it. The name derives from the fact the Tor network uses a method called onion routing. Keep reading to learn when you should use Tor over VPN, VPN over Tor or another option entirely.
What Is Tor?
Before diving into onion over VPN, it’s important to first know the answer to “what is Tor?” Tor is a browser and a network, and is often referred to as the onion router. It was originally developed by the United States Navy as a tool to protect sensitive communications, but has grown into a more widespread tool used by many people today. Tor is currently used to increase online privacy as well as to provide access to the deep web, which is unreachable via a standard browser. Tor is managed by the Tor Project, a non-profit organization that also works on human rights issues and advocates for online privacy.
Tor works specifically by using a series of relays, or bouncing your traffic through several machines, before it’s delivered to its final destination. This network of machines is owned by volunteers around the world. When you use Tor, your traffic is relayed at least 3 times, and as a result is not ever passed directly between any single server. Tor masks your location, changes your IP and is in many ways effective at protecting your identity. Although we believe it’s truly impossible to ever be anonymous online, Tor greatly increases online privacy and makes it near impossible for your true IP (or location) to be identified. Tor is also effective at bypassing censorship or internet restrictions, and for gaining access to the dark web. Sometimes those in restricted countries as well as journalists opt to use the Tor network. Traffic over the Tor network is encrypted, and for added security some users choose to use not only Tor but also Tor with VPN. For additional privacy, many Tor users also make the choice to use cryptocurrency.
What is Onion Over VPN?
So, what is onion over VPN? What does onion over VPN mean? Onion over VPN refers to using both a VPN and an onion network. For those wondering how to use onion over VPN, it’s simple! You just need 3 things to get started: a VPN service, an internet connection and the Tor browser (or other means of accessing Tor).
First, connect to your VPN. We recommend using a trusted VPN provider, and one that does not keep logs (a “no-log” provider). Then, connect to your onion browser (Tor). The VPN will encrypt your connection before it even hits the onion network, providing an additional layer of privacy and security with the extra layer of encryption for your traffic. This makes it almost impossible for anyone (including your ISP) to trace your activity, or to even see that you are using the Tor network. A VPN no-log policy means your provider cannot see what you are doing, and an outside party cannot either.
There is one downside to onion over VPN; that it’s not working to protect you from malicious exit nodes on the Tor network because traffic is unencrypted once it reaches its destination. It's important to also be aware that performance can be impacted when using onion over VPN, meaning that you may have slower speeds. In general, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Enhanced privacy and access to the Tor network, even from locations where Tor is blocked, plus protection from any bugs inside the Tor network are big positives.
If you are wondering “what is VPN over Tor,” it’s the reverse of what’s described above. Connecting to Tor and then your VPN.
What is VPN Over Tor?
Now we have delved into onion over VPN, let’s take a look at VPN over Tor. VPN over Tor refers to the process of first connecting to Tor, then connecting through your VPN service after that. It is a more complex approach than Tor over VPN, and sometimes involves manual configuration of the VPN depending on your provider. The primary reason people choose to use a VPN over Tor is to access sites or services blocked to users of the Tor network. It also protects from malicious exit nodes, as traffic runs through your VPN after exiting the Tor network. It requires a high level of trust in your VPN provider, and that they are no-log (if they keep logs they theoretically could see you were accessing Tor). Another drawback to this method is that it still reveals to a potential snoop that you are using a VPN – rather than just a random Tor node.
Try Onion over VPN Today
Now that you know the ins and outs of onion over VPN, or Tor over VPN (remember, these are better choices than VPN over Tor), are you ready to give it a try? VyprVPN is a no-log provider that owns our hardware and network and provides the strongest security. Get VyprVPN and try it today!